Greek human rights ombudsman on visit to Slovenia

Ljubljana – Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina has met Greek counterpart Andreas I. Pottakis, who heads Europe’s section at the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), as part of hos visit to Slovenia. Pottakis has also been received by President Borut Pahor, Svetina’s office said in a press release on Wednesday.

Svetina and Pottakis discussed the role of human rights, foremost from the aspect of the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic, and issues which prompt people to turn to them for help.

Recent events, in particular the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, have shown that respect for human rights is by no means a given and that peace, democracy, the rule of law and human rights must be continuously defended, Svetina stressed.

Pottakis meanwhile said that the institution of ombudsman cooperates and shares its experience and practices with other ombudsman institutions in a sovereign manner, and is a respected partner in the international environment.

The Greek human rights ombudsman said this was confirmed by Svetina’s unanimous election as one of the seven IOI directors for Europe, according to Svetina’s office.

Svetina was elected to the IOI board of directors in December 2021. At the time his office said one of his priorities in his new role would be enhanced activities at international level.

Today, Svetina and Pottakis stressed the importance of all institutions working in accordance with international human rights standards and of strengthening the position of the ombudsman at national and international levels.

Pottakis was also received by President Borut Pahor on Monday with Svetina in attendance, while the Nafplion Group held a meeting on the sidelines of his visit.

The group was formed on the initiative of Pottakis and some other peer institutions or national preventive mechanisms from the Council of Europe member states.

Its meeting focussed on challenges in monitoring refoulement within Frontex, and urged a humane approach to all people in all fields, the release said.